Finding Peace In The Mornings

Monday, 4 December 2017

I have always had a love/hate relationship with mornings. I love lying in bed, all snuggled and cosy, wrapped in blankets and I hate actually getting out of bed. I love waking up and seeing beautiful, dreamy sunrises and hate that I tell myself I'm not a morning person.

Slowly, mornings have been teaching me to be present in the day. For someone who absolutley hates getting out of bed, seeing beautiful sunrises like this almost give me a sense of purpose in the morning; a reason to get up for the day.

Blurry eyed and still not fully awake, I peek out of my blinds and see this dreamy sunrise. I quickly grab my camera and my 55 - 200mm lens, throw my dressing gown on and my wellies and head out into my garden to capture the glowing rising sun. 

 Theres something that has always drawn me to sunrises and sunsets. Perhaps it's because they symbolise a new begining; a fresh start to a new day. Everyone always likes the idea of starting over again, especially if they feel like they haven't really succeeded the day before. I know its something I constantly feel; the want to start over again. But staring at this sunrise this morning, it made me feel excited to begin a new day, and this is something I rarely feel.

It felt good. 

The dusky pink hues have always drawn a sense of wonder and amazement from me. There is something about seeing the world in a early and new light that I have always found magical. Hearing birds cheep and the slight wind rustle the few leaves that Winter has spared gave me give me a feeling of calm and contentment. Time to start a new day.

I hope you have enjoyed these sunrises as much as I had. 

Love, K :)

Red & Blue Neon Photography

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Recently, I bought some new coloured gels for my flashguns, and I wanted to try them out. I've always loved photography and consider it more than a hobby than anything else. But I've recently been trying to 'up my game' and try out different things, such as my 'Witchy Happenings' series that I've posted on here. 

This move to use colour in my photography mainly came from watching Blade Runner: 2049 and the beautiful use of colour in the film and in the posters, and also the promotional character posters from Stranger Things season 2. I personally love the contrasting colours of the pink/red and blue.

I'm thinking about doing more projects with off-camera flash and gels such as these, and would love to photograph other people than myself! I'd also love to try different colour combinations such as orange and blue. In film terms, this is often called an 'orange and teal push' and is seen quite a lot in recent films, most notably, Mad Max: Fury Road.

I really enjoyed taking these images and thought that they turned out really well, even if they were just test images! I can't wait to share more photography projects with you all! I have quite a few planned, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled :)

Love,  K :)

Slow & Happy Mornings | A Playlist

Friday, 24 November 2017

As any other person would, I do love a good playlist, but I'm always shuffling from one playlist to the other, as they never feel what I want them to make me feel. Until now that is...

I love cinematic music and OST's (Original Sound Tracks, basically, film scores) so I've picked some of my favourites and some that feel like a good morning; the kind that makes you feel good about the day ahead and even better, excited for it.

Think 'happy-go-lucky', sweet English-ness, pancakes with maple syrup, flowers in the early sun and slow mornings. Birds singing sweetly, candyfloss skies and the soft golden light floating through your blinds. That's what this playlist is.

I'll add new songs as and when I find any worthy to be on the playlist, so keep your eyes peeled for any new additions to the mix!

The sun is gently rising above the horizon; the sky is candyfloss pink and the birds have come to sweetly sing you good-morning. It is a good morning. Relax and take your time with this beautifully selected range of cinematic sounds that make you feel rested yet ready. You've got this. Good morning... 

Here's a little infographic of the playlist for you guys to share! It hasn't got all of the songs on, unfortunately, but it does give you a taste of whats on the playlist!

I hope you guys enjoy the playlist!

Love,  K :)

Let's Talk About Image Editing & Retouching...

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Let's talk about image editing and retouching...

Firstly, one of my many jobs as a creative freelancer is image editing. I mainly work with wedding photos and travel images but have recently noticed the want to change my own personal photos that I take.

I have always been against image re-touching in magazines and mainstream media as it is shared and seen more often than any of my own images or any other images that I edit, so why do I feel the need to alter my images in any way?

Here I will show you a few examples of before and after images that I have edited.

The image above is a completely unedited photo that I took in my room with natural lighting. As you can see, I have many spots, I have a curve in the back of my neck (because I have awful posture) and if you saw a full-length image, you would see that I'm not the slimmest person you've ever met.

Now, the above image is classed as 'image editing' because no re-touching has been done. And if you were wondering, yes there is a difference between image editing and image retouching. Image editing consists of changing the colour, temperature, highlights, shadows etc, etc; no actual body/face alterations in any way. As you can see, I've brought the exposure up, applied a preset (which is a bit like a filter on Instagram), rotated the image a little to make it straighter and have highlighted the edges of the image for a brighter and cleaner background.

Now, this image is a whole new kettle of fish. THIS is image retouching. As you can see, no spots, I've made myself seem slimmer by 'tucking in' my chin and I've even gone to the lengths of taking the small bump out of my nose (which I'm sure I got from somersaulting off my bike down a hill once...). I've even taken out that bump out from the back of my neck.

The two images are very different, but only one is really what I look like. I haven't published the above images anywhere other than this blog post, and I don't think I ever would publish the last image anywhere, not even on Instagram. It's such an altered image, and if anyone I knew saw that, they would know that something was fishy and I would never want to promote such extensive retouching as I know how much it affects users on social media.

The next series of images take the question of image retouching to a similar level, although not as extensive. 

The above image is the raw image taken in my room (with the blinds closed) and is offset with two flash guns with a red and blue coloured gel.

This image is when I have taken the photo into Lightroom and applied the preset, brought out the reds and blues and did some minor adjustments to the exposure and colour. Again, no re-touching in this photo, just basic image editing.

 In the above photo, you can see that miraculously my spots have once again disappeared and my skin seems a lot smoother and even. The only difference between this photo and the end image of the last series of photos is that I have made no physical alterations to my face; I haven't made it seem slimmer, or widened my eyes or anything like that.

In terms of retouching, are any of these 'end result' images acceptable? Should we allow people to retouch their images, especially if it is seen in widespread media? It's an interesting topic and one that I have been thinking about quite a lot recently. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this issue! Leave a comment below and let me know!

American Gods - Neil Gaiman | Book Review

Friday, 27 October 2017

Rating: 4/5

'Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break'

Firstly, the only reason I haven't given this book a 5/5 rating is that it just took me so long to actually finish the darn thing, of which all of the blame I put on myself.

So, American Gods... where to start.

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, you'll know that I absolutely love sci-fi/fantasy anything, so when I saw American Gods on my local bookshop's shelf, I knew it had to be read. I've read a few of Neil Gaiman's books before, but they were all in the children's' or young-adults section of the bookshop, so when I stumbled across American Gods in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section, I was intrigued.

American Gods tells the tale of a man named Shadow Moon who has just been released from prison when his wife dies in a car accident (this is honestly no spoiler, it happens a few pages in). His journey in this seemingly new world that he hasn't been a part of for three years sees him meet the mysterious Mr Wednesday, who hires him as an 'errand boy'. From then on we encounter all sorts of gods and deities from all different cultures. I think that's one of the things that I really enjoyed most out of this book; the vast cultural scape that Gaiman covers in regards to Gods.

Another thing that I also really enjoyed was seemingly unnecessary storylines turning into something completely far from what I expected (in the best way possible!). There were a few characters storylines that I thought were going nowhere or felt like they weren't really needed. This was, of course, a huge mistake and I have no idea why I even doubted Gaiman's writing for even a second.; one characters motives/arc I didn't even see coming! It wasn't until Shadow pieced everything together that I even had an inkling as to what was going on.

But one of the things that I took most away from reading American gods was that of the struggle between the old gods and the new ('new' being 'technology' and 'media', etc), which I thought was a very true reflection of what is happening in our world today. We almost worship the screen in our hands and can't bear to be parted with it. Although this book was first published in 2001, it tells a story that is very relevant to how we all live today.

Overall, this was a brilliant book and it certainly took me on an adventure throughout North American and time itself.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone under the age of 18 as it has some strong sexual scenes, and swearing is on almost every page.

This book would be great for anyone who has enjoyed Gaiman's previous works, and anyone who enjoys a thought-provoking book.

I hope you have enjoyed the review! Let me know what you thought of American Gods in the comments below!

Love, K :)

Witchy Happenings

Friday, 13 October 2017

For so long I have always wanted to do a Witch/Halloween inspired photoshoot/series of images. So the other day I decided to go out with my sister and take some test images to see if we could achieve what we wanted, and I am so pleased with the results!

I had seen a few pins on Pinterest that really sparked my imagination for inspiration for the series, some of which included levitation. This was something I had always wanted to try, and I saw this as my opportunity to really stretch my technical editing side. I can't wait to make more images that have the same sort of spooky, modern day witch vibe. I might base the photo series on the 'Seven Wonders' posed in the American Horror Story series 'Coven'. Seven magical abilities a young witch has to undergo to unveil if she is the Supreme. 

Those seven 'wonders' are, Telekinesis; the ability to manipulate objects with the power of the mind, Concilium; the ability to impose one's will onto another, allowing it to control many parts of the mind (such as actions, thoughts, memories, etc), more commonly known as Coercion and Mind Control, Pyrokinesis; the ability to create, control and manipulate fire with the power of the mind, Divination; the ability to obtain direct knowledge about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the user's physical senses. This can be activated by just being around a person, focusing on specific tasks, searching for information, and touching objects, Transmutation; the ability to move instantaneously from one location to another without physically occupying the space in between, also known as Teleportation, Vitalum Vitalis; the ability to balance the scales between one life force and another. Witches can transfer their own life force to nearly dead people in order to heal them and can even resurrect the dead. Commonly seen side-effects are fainting and dizziness due to the strain. Can also be used to drain life force as well, and finally, Descensum; the ability to descend into the netherworlds of the afterlife. Witches are able to project themselves directly into hell, which takes the form of their worst fears.

So that's a lot to work with! I really hope to make something out of this as I am really interested where this could take me creatively! Hopefully, you'll see some awesome images very soon, just in time for Halloween!

If anyone would like a tutorial about how I made these images, just let me know and I'll put together another blog post with loads of details.

Love, K :)

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